Global Review – 7th September

Truss to meet cabinet, face MPs on first full day in power

Britain’s new prime minister Liz Truss convenes her senior ministers for an inaugural cabinet meeting later today on her first full day in office, before she faces a barrage of questions in parliament. Truss, who officially became leader Tuesday at an audience with Queen Elizabeth in Scotland after the resignation of Boris Johnson, is set to meet her top team in the morning. They include the most diverse top team in British history ever: Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as interior minister. They face a daunting in-tray of issues, most notably decades-high inflation and how to deal with energy bills set to rise by 80 percent next month and even more again in January. Meanwhile, the Bank of England has tipped the country to fall into recession later this year. But Truss was bullish as she entered Downing Street for the first time as premier. After Cabinet, 47-year-old Truss will travel to the House of Commons to spar with Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, in the rival pair’s first Prime Minister’s Questions session. Truss will likely face a volley of hostile questions from Starmer and the Labour ranks, as they look to capitalise on months of Tory disarray. Labour has opened up a double-digit lead in the polls but may have to wait two years for the next general election. The often-rowdy weekly session, which sees the prime minister quizzed by MPs, will test Truss’s political mettle and rhetorical skills as well as her level of Conservative support. Conservative MPs are “almost ungovernable” and have “no appetite to cope with difficult decisions”, according to a government insider quoted by the ‘Financial Times’ on Monday. Truss vowed Monday to lead the Conservatives to victory “in 2024”, with an election due by January 2025 at the latest. “I am confident that together we can ride out the storm,” she said.

Johnson urges Tories to get behind Liz Truss

Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Conservatives to get behind his successor Liz Truss during a “tough time”, in his farewell speech. In his speech, Johnson alluded to the ominous challenges Truss inherited when takeing office, acknowledging that this was a tough time for the economy. “This is a tough time for families up and down the country,” Johnson said, adding, “We can and we will get through it and we will come out stronger than the other side.” Johnson said “it’s time for politics to be over, folks”.

‘In Mar-a-Lago material on nuclear foreign country’

Among the documents seized by the FBI at Donald Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago there was also one that describes the military defences of a foreign government, including its nuclear capabilities, ‘The Washington Post’ reveals. Furthermore, some of these documents detail US super top secret operations known to a very small number of people and which are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure structure with an officer who records the accesses. But they were being held in Mar-a-Lago in an unsafe location, over 18 months after Trump’s term ended. Only the president and some members of the government can authorise other officials to know the details of these top secret activities, so much so that many senior national security executives are unaware of them. Accoding to the mewspaper’s sources, people close to the search did not identify the foreign government in question or say where exactly these documents were found. The newspaper had already reported that the FBI was looking for, in part, for any classified document relating to nuclear weapons. After the news was published, Trump replied that “the issue of nuclear weapons is a hoax”, as well as Russiagate and the two impeachments he suffered.

$1 billion needed to prevent famine in Somalia

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths predicted Tuesday that at least $1 billion would be needed urgently to avert famine in Somalia in the coming months and early next year when two more dry seasons are expected to compound the historic drought that has hit the Horn of Africa nation. In a video briefing from Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, Griffiths said that a new report from an authoritative panel of independent experts shows there will be a famine in Somalia between October and December “if we don’t manage to stave it off and avoid it as had been the case in 2016 and 2017”. He told UN correspondents that more than $1 billion in new funds were needed in addition to the UN appeal of about $1.4 billion. That appeal has been “very well-funded”, he said, thanks to the US Agency for International Development, which announced a $476 million donation of humanitarian and development aid in July. Up to 7.1 million people across Somalia need urgent assistance to treat and prevent acute malnutrition and reduce the number of ongoing hunger-related deaths.

Russia buying, artillery ammunition from North Korea’ – US intelligence

The Russian Ministry of Defence is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine, according to a newly-downgraded US intelligence finding. A US official, who spoke to The Asociated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence determination, said that the fact Russia is turning to the isolated state of North Korea demonstrates that “the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions”.

More European energy firms get state aid as prices soar

Finland and Switzerland offered financial backing to utility companies on Tuesday – the latest energy firms in Europe to receive state support as gas prices have spiked since Russia invaded Ukraine. The conflict has created a cash crunch for power companies in Europe, prompting governments in several countries to open credit lines in recent months. Other governments in Europe, notasbly Germany, Austria and Sweden  have offered billions of euros in loans to energy firms.

IAEA calls for ‘security’ zone at Zaporizhzhia plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released its much-awaited report on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The 50-page report calls for the immediate establishment of a security zone to enable inspectors to monitor the current situation at the plant, which the IAEA called “untenable”. The report also recommended that the conditions of the Ukrainian staff operating the plant be improved. “Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available,” said the IAEA. “This is not sustainable and could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.”

Russia ‘regrets’ IAEA report on Zaporizhzhia plant

Russia on Tuesday voiced regret that a report by the UN nuclear watchdog warning of risks at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant did not blame Kyiv for shelling the Moscow-occupied site. “We regret that in your report… the source of the shelling is not directly named,” Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told a Security Council session attended virtually by Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

12 family members die in Guatemala fire

A fire in the Guatemalan municipality of Magdalena Milpas Altas killed 12 members of a family early on Tuesday, according to local firefighters. First responders found the bodies of five minors at the scene, with ages ranging from four months to 14 years. Preliminary findings show the family left a cooking fire going overnight and died from carbon dioxide inhalation.

Escaped chimp returns to the zoo on a bicycle

In a city that has faced the fury of Russian fire, a chimpanzee made a brave but brief break for freedom that ended in a cuddle and a bicycle ride back home. Chichi the chimpanzee went on the loose in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and was seen in the city centre by stunned locals, including a keeper at the nearby zoo that he fled from. After others tried to win his trust with sweet treats, videos show a blonde woman kneeling down and talking to the escaped ape. The clip then showed him approaching her again and accepting her offer of her smart yellow jacket. The dapper primate was then placed on the seat of a bicycle and wheeled back to captivity with the help of another local.

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